Patriotic Cake Pops and Homemade Ravioli

Although I had work on July Fourth, and parties were planned for the weekend, I still felt like I had to do something to celebrate. And my coworkers had jokingly mentioned that I should bake a cake and bring it in to the office. My apartment was a bit too hot to bake a cake, but, I did have almost an entire cake’s wort of scraps from trimming the wedding cakes that I had stored in the freezer. I decided to make cake pops (added benefit of currying favor at the office, I also don’t eat a whole cake by myself)

I mixed about half a cake worth of almond cake, broken up into fine crumbs, with 1/2 cup of cream cheese, 2 Tbs butter, and a cup of powdered sugar. Stuck this batter in the freezer, and after decently chilled, rolled small balls. Then I repeated the process with chocolate cake crumbs.

I melted chocolate and tried to dip the balls into it, but the chocolate was too thick and the cake balls kept falling off the sticks. So I put the chocolate into a plastic bag and piped swirls individually. Then decorated with red and white sprinkles (I looked for blue sprinkles, but couldn’t find any at Jenny Lou’s). They were very patriotic and celebratory as I sat at my desk in my cubicle all day.

Almond cake pop with chocolate swirls

Saturday a friend of mine hosted a little dinner-making party, mostly to let people to cook for her, and I was happy to oblige as she owns a pasta maker. I brought a tub of pumpkin puree, the rest of my homemade ricotta, which I had stored frozen to no adverse effect, and some homemade pork sausage mix.

Because I hadn’t made pasta in so long I forgot the ratio, and we used a recipe from the Joy of Cooking for guidance. 1 1/2 cups of semolina flour and 2 cups of normal flour, plus salt, mixed up. Beat 5 eggs and slowly incorporate the flour, mixing until you get a smooth, not too sticky dough. It turned out a tad dry at the end so I dabbed my fingers in water as I mixed to get just the right texture. I let the dough rest for 15 minutes while I browned the sausage mix in a pan, and set up the roller.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and work in batches. Roll the dough out, trim into even sided rectangle. Cut with a knife (or pizza roller) the long way to get two equal long rectangles. Place a dollop of ricotta, pumpkin, sausage, or any combined mix, every two inches, on one narrow rectangle. Cut dough the short way to get two equal squares around each dollop of filling. Dab water lightly along the edges of one square, and then place the empty square over and pinch the edges together. And you have ravioli! Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and then put these into the water until they float to the surface, about 5 minutes. You can serve as is, with olive/butter and fresh cracked pepper, or give a quick saute in other flavors, like butter, garlic, sage.

It was quite the international dinner. There was a big pot of spicy Singaporean soup, made with coconut milk, red chili oil, so many flavors, fish cakes, poured over bean sprouts, noodles, and hard boiled egg. We used the remaining bowl of ground pork sausage to fry with wide, chewy rice noodles. And there was pai huang gua a smashed/cut cucumber salad dressed with vinegar and garlic, and in our case, Crazy Jane garlic seasoning. And I discovered these amazing chili crackle snacks that were completely addictive. Deep fried red chilies with sesame seeds and other things that the oil leached out the worst of the capsicums, leaving only deliciousness behind.

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